Neurodegenerative diseases have remained stubbornly increasing in prevalence for sometime now. Unfortunately longer life does not mean a better quality of life. Thankfully that could change sooner than you think, scientists have for the first time discovered a killing mechanism that could underpin a range of the most intractable neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and ALS.
Parkinson’s disease affects neurons in a particular brain region, when it develops brain cells have their mitochondrial activity cease and then the cells die. But now researchers have shown that supplying D-lactate or glycolate [two products of the gene DJ-1] can stop and even counteract this process, a huge step forward to finding a cure or even a way to prevent parkinson’s.
Possibly one of the most famous cases of parkinson’s is Michael J. Fox. More than just the “shakes” parkinson’s can cause a whole host of other problems mentally and physically [things like lack of sleep, smell, and mood]. But now an experimental anti-inflammatory drug ,funded by the foundation with is namesake has been shown to protect vulnerable neurons and reduce motor deficits, at least in a rat model of Parkinson’s disease.
Let’s face it, diseases that affect the brain are some of the hardest to deal with. Anyone who’s lost someone to alzheimer’s knows exactly what I am talking about. Looking at someone you love and watching them slip away without any visible difference can be heart wrenching!
However, there is a new hope! Physicists [of all things] from Michigan State University published an article in the Journal of Biological Chemistry, that might make alzheimers and associated diseases a thing of the past.